Using Sunday Without Cars to advance the potential of cycling

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Belgian Minister for Mobility and Public Works, Pascal Smet interviewed on Sunday Without Cars

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Pascal Smet. Belgian Minister for Mobility and Public Works, being interviewed on Sunday Without Cars

As the world celebrates International Day Without Cars, Pascal Smet, Belgian Minister for Mobility and Public Works, being interviewed during Brussel’s Sunday Without Cars. 

Photographer’s notes: In the throes of Sunday Without Cars, this was Pascal Smet, Belgian Minister for Mobility and Public Works, being interviewed while riding his bike. The interview bike parade was a massive event and something I was lucky to manage a photo. A handful of us had just come back from a long ride and were blocked behind a double decker bus. Police motorbikes were clearing the road, making sure we stayed out of the way. And then the peloton arrived, Smet in the front, leading the charge.

Smet is widely recognised as being a constant and positive voice for cycling throughout the country.

I was jammed up behind the bus but managed to get the camera free in time to hit the camera’s motor drive shutter. I have to love digital cameras in moments like this. I can shoot three rolls of film in  a few seconds and it all costs nothing.

But Sunday Without Cars makes Brussels seem like Copenhagen at rush hour. Maybe  a little more anarchic. A chance for the city to see the potential. Every cycling advocate agency was there. GRACQ and Fietsersbond were pressing their roles in the daily lives of cyclists. CYCLO, the asbl bike shop that has multiple locations across the city, were doing last minute repairs, inflating tires, opining chains, for the hordes of people who had dusted their bikes to come out on the day.

Sunday Without Bikes is always good day. Even in bad years, the weather has rarely been so bad. Families appear on the roads, there is a range of bikes I have never seen before. I should be spending the day photographing dozens of cyclists so I have a reservoir of images to use in the future, but that would be cheating. I want the blog to have the sense that the image was recently taken. Not a stockpile being cycled out.

But I always make a round of the city and enjoy dodging the throngs.

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